THE ALDRICH CONTEMPORARY ART MUSEUM: Exhibition Reception for Artists SERGE SPITZER and ELIZABETH PEYTON
Place: THE ALDRICH CONTEMPORARY ART MUSEUM, Ridgefield, CT
Time: Sunday afternoon, June 22nd, 3-5pm
Text, Vivian G. Kelly
Images of the event, courtesy of The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum
Image of Stephanie Seymour, from the GAP Ad Campaign
Images of Takashi Murakami and his work from www.cache.elo.com
A HIGH-POWERED CROWD IN ATTENDANCE
Until a trip to Art Basel, Miami, we’ve shied away from Contemporary Art – we just didn’t “get it”. Our trip to Art Basel though, motivated us to join the Aldrich Museum and walk through whenever they had a new exhibition. It helped that one of our daughters underwent docent training at school and was eager to talk about the exhibits she’s studied.
Until this point though, we hadn’t had the opportunity to meet any of the artists whose work was on exhibit. Despite the rain, the event was packed and we knew this was “an important” event when we glimpsed supermodel and art collector, Stephanie Seymour, and her husband, Peter Brandt, newsprint manufacturing exec, in the check in line behind us. Stephanie is one of our favorite fashion models of all times These days, she’s combined her modeling talents with her interest in art in some gorgeous photographs wearing one of the GAP’s Limited Edition T-shirts featuring a Jeff Koons design. The collection was presented by the GAP and the Whitney Museum of American Art earlier this year. Stephanie does more than pose in artists’ tee shirts though. In an article that ran in The Wall Street Journal in 2007, Troy McMullen reported that the Brandts commissioned architect Richard Gluckman [who designed the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego and the Deutsche Guggenheim in Berlin] to create a 9,800-square-foot structure that would serve as a new home for works by Julian Schnabel, Jeff Koons and Jean-Michel Basquiat in the couple’s 20th-century backyard barn located in the backyard of their 10-acre Greenwich, CT. property.
Once inside, the Aldrich’s PR Manager, Pamela Ruggio, was incredibly helpful and introduced us to the reclusive Elizabeth Peyton as well as to Lisa Williams from the Gavin Brown Enterprise Gallery, and to artist Serge Spitzer. Meeting Mr. Spitzer was without question the highlight of our visit.
ABOUT THE ALDRICH MUSEUM
Fashion Designer and contemporary art collector Larry Aldrich originally founded The Larry Aldrich Museum to house his growing art collection in 1964. Three years later, the Museum was renamed The Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art.
Early on it had as its mission, “to be a national leader in the exhibition of significant and challenging contemporary art with an emphasis on emerging and mid-career artists, a world-class innovator of museum education programs, and a vital cultural resource for the community.”
Since 1996, Harry Philbrick has been at the helm as the Director and also curates many of the exhibitions. Among his many accomplishment are the attendance numbers to The Aldrich, which has tripled since 1996!
For more information about The Aldrich and membership visit
SERGE SPITZER & his STLL LIFE installation
We were impressed by Serge Spitzer’s obvious intelligence and relieved that he actually enjoys talking to art newbies such as ourselves who openly admit to knowing nothing about Contemporary Art, but are interested in starting the learning process. We were a bit hesitant to converse with such a renowned artist on a topic we know so little about, but resolved to give it a go. The Romanian-born artist has been living and working in New York since the early eighties. His work has been shown in: The Museum of Modern Art [NY], the Henry Moore Institute [London], and the Kunstmuseum [Bern] to name just a few.
Mr. Spitzer’s project for the Aldrich comprised of 75,000 custom made individually pixilated tennis balls he placed on the Aldrich’s 2-acre Cornish Family Sculpture Garden. The Chinese manufacturer Mr. Spitzer commissioned produced the ball with a military inspired pixilated camouflage pattern, which was based on an enlarged photo of the Museum’s expansive lawn.
Luckily for us, a couple was engaged in earnest conversation with the artist, and we got to relax, listen, and reflect on Mr. Spitzer’s responses to questions that we would have liked to ask and to ask him whether he feels art and fashion can mix.
QUESTION: What is this installation about?
SERGE SPITZER: This [pointing to the garden] is a piece of reality, whatever that means.
QUESTION: Were you upset when the grass started to grow?
SS: Slowly, nature took over. The reality is the same but the perception is different.
Q: Why did you use tennis balls?
S. SPITZER: I’m a former tennis player and I used to play tennis with Larry Aldrich. The idea for this project started 14 years ago and was almost realized in Hamburg.
The tennis ball is an object we all have a relationship with. By removing a layer, we make it unique.
Q: When [or is it] Okay for Art & Fashion to mix?
S. SERGE SPITZER: In the case of LVMH’s collaboration with Japanese artist, Takashi Murakami. LVMH’s Chairman, Bernard Arnaud’s idea was to collaborate with Takashi to create the Murakami bag for Vuitton, Mr. Arnaud is a renowned collector and has an excellent understanding and knowledge of art, and the project was born from his love and appreciation of art.
To view more of Serge Spitzer’s work visit,
Ms. Peyton was the recipient of the Larry Aldrich Award in 2006. Her collection entitled, “Portrait of an Artist” spans 13 years and is comprised of 50 photographs she’s taken of artists [some friends, some acquaintances] that have played a meaningful role in her life. She has an intuitive approach to photography, and considers herself “an artist who takes photographs as a natural part of being alive in the modern world”. The photos possess a documentary like quality and have been produced using either 35mm or Polaroid, or more recently, with a digital camera. Our favorite is a self-portrait of Ms. Peyton looking at herself in the mirror wearing sunglasses while taking a photo.
To see more or for inquiries, contact Gavin Brown’s enterprise, 620 Greenwich Street, NY, tel: 212-627-5261
We DID go outside afterwards and picked up 2 balls from Serge Spitzer’s installation to take home. We were slightly in awe to be holding a piece of art so casually in our hands. Our grateful Golden Receiver, who was the final recipient of the gift, was grateful too, and brought home the point that art can indeed be part of your everyday environment, and is something to be enjoyed. Just because it’s art, it doesn’t have to be “precious”. Our visit and chat with Mr. Spitzer made us more comfortable with the Art World, and was a tiny step in the learning process on this vast topic.